Dr Stewart Johnstone


Work, Employment and Organisation


Personal statement

I joined the Department of Work, Employment and Organisation at Strathclyde Business School as Reader in Employment Relations & HRM in July 2020.  I am currently Director of Research for the Department of Work, Employment and Organisation. Prior to my current appointment I worked at Newcastle University (2012-2020) and Loughborough University (2005-2012).  I hold degrees from the universities of Aberdeen, Manchester and Loughborough. 

My research takes a critical pluralist and contextual approach to human resource management and employment relations, with a particular focus on employee voice and participation, employment restructuring, and HRM in SMEs.  I have published and have various ongoing projects in each of these areas. I have also coedited three books, notably Finding A Voice at Work (OUP, 2015), Developing Positive Employment Relations (Palgrave, 2016), and two editions Encylopedia of Human Resource Management (Elgar, 2016, 2023).  I am PI of a major ESRC funded project Amplifying employee voice and hearing the unheard (2022-2025). The project brings together a diverse team of University of Strathclyde Business School researchers within the Department of Work, Employment and Organisation and Economics, with different methodological expertise and sector knowledge  to develop an innovative multi-level study of employee voice and contemporary working lives in the West of Scotland. I am currently supervising two PhD students and always pleased to hear from potential doctoral students with interests in any of the above areas. Please contact me to discuss project ideas and funding opportunities before making a formal application.

I am former Co-Chair of the British Academy of Management HRM Special Interest Group (2016-2022) and former Executive Board Member and Communications Officer of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (2016-2019).  I am an Academic Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a member of the British Academy of Management HRM Steering Group and a Fellow of the British Academy of Management Peer Review College which supports all reviewing activity within BAM (BAM journals, conferences, and grants).  

Back to staff profile

Area of Expertise

Employee voice and participation

Trade unions

Employment relations

Labour management partnership

Employment restructuring




Prize And Awards

British Academy of Management Medal for Leadership
Fellow, British Academy of Management Peer Review College
Academic Fellow, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
Fellow Higher Education Academy

More prizes and awards


Academic Fellow, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Fellow, Higher Education Academy

PhD Loughborough University

MSc University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST)

MA(Hons) University of Aberdeen

Back to staff profile


I have experience of designing, delivering and managing programmes and modules concerned with the management of people and work at all levels. At Strathclyde I teach a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA students. I am also the Editor of an Encyclopedia of Human Resource Management, which contains over 400 entries on core HR areas and key concepts.  A popular and comprehensive resource for students, a fully revised 2nd edition was released in February 2023. 

Back to staff profile

Research Interests

My research activity has focused on:

Employee voice and participation in both unionised and non-union contexts, and especially issues of labour management partnership, a debate to which I have contributed extensively for over 20 years. See for example:

Never one size fits all: Mick Marchington's unique voice on voice, from micro-level informality to macro-level turbulence Human Resource Management Journal

The potential of labour management partnership: a longitudinal case analysis, British Journal of Management.

Developing positive employment relations: international experiences of labour management partnership, Palgrave.

Finding a Voice at Work: New Perspectives on Employment Relations, Oxford University Press.

Employment restructuring in times of crisis, and in particular HRM responses to turbulence at the organisational level including the 2008 financial crisis and 2020 coronavirus pandemic.  See for example:

Comparative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on work and employment - Why industrial relations institutions matter, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society.

The Global Financial Crisis, Work and Employment Ten Years On,  Economic and Industrial Democracy

Downsizing, The Sage Handbook of Human Resource Management

Employment practices, laboour flexibility and the Great Recession: an automotive case study, Economic and Industrial Democracy

HRM in SMEs and the extent to which HRM challenges and practices are distinctive in smaller organisational settings.  See for example:

Training and performance in SMEs: Empirical evidence from large-scale data from the UK, Journal of Small Business Management

Are the responses of small firms different from large firms in times of recession? Journal of Business Venturing.

Human resource practices, employee attitudes and small firm performance, International Small Business Journal.



Professional Activities

Internal Examiner
Employee Voice
Employee Voice
Reconceptualising Employee Voice
The future of union management partnership
Involvement and Participation Association WIG Meeting

More professional activities


Amplifying Employee Voice and Hearing the Unheard: A Multidisciplinary Study of Contemporary Working Lives in Deindustrialised Communities
Johnstone, Stewart (Principal Investigator) Briken, Kendra (Co-investigator) Cunningham, Ian (Co-investigator) Hadjisolomou, Tasos (Co-investigator) McCarthy, Tony (Co-investigator) McIntyre, Stuart (Co-investigator) Scholarios, Dora (Co-investigator) Taylor, Philip (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2025
Research Excellence Award: Hearing the unheard: amplifying the voices of frontline essential workers £99,008
Johnstone, Stewart (Principal Investigator) Briken, Kendra (Principal Investigator)
Employee voice – defined as the ability to have a say at work and influence over workplace affairs – is a central dimension of a good job and fair work (Fairwork Convention, 2021, Norris-Green and Gifford, 2021; Taylor, 2017; Wilkinson et.al, 2021). For much of the twentieth century in Britain employee voice was synonymous with trade unions and collective bargaining. However, union representation is now unavailable in 90% private sector workplaces, and limited voice has a disproportionate impact on workers most vulnerable to exploitation. It also has the the potential to exacerbate intersectional inequalities among those already identified as having a constrained voice at work including women, the disabled, younger workers and ethnic minorities (Hodder and Lefteris, 2015; Wacjman 2002; William et.al, 2009). The pandemic highlighted societies dependency on frontline 'essential workers' defined by the Scottish Government as 'people who keep the country running'. However, many essential workers, including those in retail, logistics and the platformed mediated gig economy, are in low paid and insecure employment. These 'minimum wage heroes' (BBC, 2020) are also among the most likely to be treated unfairly but least likely to have access to traditional collective union voice mechanisms. This does not, however, mean such workers have no voice. Many employers have devised their own organisational voice channels, though concerns have been raised about the extent to which these can challenge management authority or promote employee interests. Workers also have alternative means of expressing themselves, including informal dialogue with peers and managers, social media, as well as support from other interest and advocacy groups. However, little is known about whether such channels are sufficient in empowering vulnerable frontline workers, promoting good jobs or promulgating fair work. Assessing this issue is the aim of the project.
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2025
‘Reward to Retain’ Evaluating the impact of ENABLE and UNISONS’s agreement to improve recruitment and retention through fair work
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator) Baluch, Alina (Co-investigator) Jendro, Eva (Co-investigator) Scholarios, Dora (Co-investigator) Johnstone, Stewart (Co-investigator) James, Philip (Co-investigator)
Research undertaken in Enable explored issues around recruitment, retention reward and retention in the organisation. The research proposal aimed to address the following objectives: 1. Why staff join and remain within ENABLE in light of the agreement with UNISON; 2. What changes the agreement has made to the organisation’s attraction and selection strategies; 3. How these changes have impacted on service quality; and 4. How the values of Fair Work can be progressed in future relations between ENABLE and UNISON.
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2021

More projects

Back to staff profile


Dr Stewart Johnstone
Work, Employment and Organisation

Email: stewart.johnstone@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 3564